Monday, May 16, 2005


Bob Fleischer

None of the suggestions "transparency," "accountability," "verifiable," "auditable," "fair," or "accurate" mean something I'd want to put in the place of "integrity". The first two seem rather vague (although I do want transparency and accountability). I don't want "verifiable" or "auditable" elections -- I want verified and audited elections. "Fair elections" has a long history in connection with election financing, although obviously fairness means far more than just financing. "Accurate" seems to imply, to me, "errors" rather than deliberate attempts to tamper or defraud.

I understand your concern about using code words, but perhaps we should even give some thought to hijacking a term, and more properly applying it, and perhaps even making some inroads into a population which would otherwise be hostile to us by using their more meaningful if less meaningfully applied words? I think many of these terms were originally much broader in use and were themselves "hijacked" by the right. Just a thought.

Actually, my favorite term for what I want is getting to be "tamper-aware" -- but as a novel term it require some explanation. What I want are systems built with the acknowledgment that tampering will be attempted and will sometimes succeed. A "tamper-aware" system is a system that has sufficient checks to detect tampering and provide enough evidence to prove it and even prosecute it. (This would be somewhat analogous to the little seals that are put on certain merchandise, especially food and drugs. They are usually called "tamper-proof", but they are not. They merely signal the presence of tampering and tampering attempts; they do not make them impossible. In the context of aware merchants and consumers, however, tampering can be caught when the packaging is made in a way that is "aware" of the risk of tampering.)

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